tv Amy Goldstein Discusses Janesville CSPAN May 14, 2017 3:30pm-5:01pm EDT
difficult judaism." [applause] >> you can watch this and other programs online as booktv.org [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. thank you. this is not my mic. i'm not used it to so it's a little dish couldn't hear if you could hear me. thank you for joining us for our program with author amy goldsteen, who will discuss her book, jainsville, an american story. i'm the programming and outreach coordinator here at hadburg public library wife.
like to ask that you turn off or silence all of your electronic devices. also, the end of today's program, miss goldsteen will have time for question and answer, and then be available under the skylight to autographt books. we do still have a few available, think, if you're interested in purchasing a book and didn't get a yellow postie with a number, see phil in the back. also, with the q & a i just wan to make sure we'll all be on our best behavior. miss goldstein is here to talker about her book. she is not a politician. and you will get to ask questions, like i said. you'll race your hand. i'll bring you the mic, and you don't need to -- please don't start talking until i have the
mic in front of your face. as i said there are limited number of books. of they're $27. and they will be available to a purchase after the program.r the they're $27. and that can be cash or check made out to book world. and if we run out of books and not everybody gets one, miss goldstein has book plates she will be happy to autograph and you can purchase the book from book world or the book store on madison, mid-to me. -- mystery to me. okay, according to miss goldstein's bioon the "washington post's" webs she has been a staff writer the web site for more than a quarter centuryn 0 over the years she has written widely about social policy
issues including medicare and medicaid, social security, welfare, housing, and theit strains policed on the social safety net by the great recession and has been a white house correspondent and covered notable news events ranging from the monica lewinski scandal to the columbine shootings to the past four supreme court nominations. part of a team of "washington ws reporters awarded the pull lit ever prize for national report knowinger coverage of 9/11. and the government's response te the attacks. she was also a 2009 pulitzer price nominee -- finalist for national reporting for an investigative series she cowrotf with her colleague, dana prieste on the medical treatment ofed b immigrants detained by the federal government. from the amazon schum oremer
"janesville" is an intimate account of the follow oclose toking of the general motors assembly plant in janesville anl a larger story of the hollowing of the american middle class. miss goalstein has spend years immersed in janesville, including time here, where the nation's oldest operating general motors plant shut down in the midst of the great recession, two days before christmas 2008. her book takes the reader deep into the live's auto works, educators, bankers, politicians, and job retrainer to sew why it's so hard in the 21st snow shower recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.pr the story of what happens to an industrial town in the american heartland, when its factory stills but it's not the familiar tale. most observers records the
immediate shock of vanished jobs but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next. when a community, with a can-do spirit, tries to pick itself up. which i think janesville is, that can-do community. please join me in giving a warm janesville welcome to amy goldstein. [applause] >> thank you, renee, for that love he introduction and i'm glen away by how many of you are here. the first thing want to say isy that standing here, it feels presumptuous to be in front of you talking about your own story which you have been general e generous enough to share with me. say thank you. the biggest work of my career, and thank you for helping me to do it. being here today is pretty emotional, actually wanted to
make clear that i wasn't goingi to start crying in front of the television camera here today because i arrived here the complete stranger in 2011 and there are anymore this room today who are my friends now, who have welcomed me into your living rooms, into your classrooms, into your offices, who have showed me the files and the jane zville right here the public library. people who have really helped me understand this community. and i am so grateful and i can't tell you how touched and humbled i am by the size of the crowd in this room. >> i'm entered to hear your take on what i have learned and written. this is how i see your store and may not be exactly how you see your story. so i'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts after i speak.k. i thought i would just read you a little bit from the first page of the book.
which starts the day that will be very familiar to many of you. it's 7:07:00 a.m. the last tahoe reaches the end of the assembly line.ly s how a its still dark, 15 degrees, 33-inches of snow, december record, piled up and drift as the stinging wind blows across the parking lot of. net janesville assembly plant the lights are blazing and the crowd is thick. workers who are about to walk out of the front into uncertain futures stand alongside pension retireesand retirees who walked back in, w their chest tight if incredit out and -- they are cheering, hugging, weeping. the final tahoe is a beauty. it's a black ltz, fully lead with heated seats, aluminum
wheels, nine, speaker audio system and a sticker price ofe c $57,745 if it were for sale in this economy in which almost no one anymore wants to buy a fancy general motors suv. five men, including one in a santa hat, stand in friend of the shiny black suv holding afr wide banner. its what's face i crammed with worker signatures. last vehicle off the janesvillel aassembly line, december 23,e of 2008. destined for the county hostal society. television crews from as far away as the netherlandses and japan have come to film tis moment when the large eplace of the large e always tomaker turns out the last. it's well recorded. this is the story of whatt happens next. >> so i thought some of you might be interested in hearing a
little bit about why a journalist who works and lives in washington, dc would suddenly show up in janesville, wisconsin, and keep coming back for years. well, there are couple of reasons. in a big picture way in my career i have been drawn for a long time to stories that lie the intersection of politics and public policy and help explain how ordinary people are affected by both. so this story of what has happened the janesville assembly plant closed is in that tradition. just got a little carried away this time. a more specific reason is when the great recession arrived near the end of 2007 i was covering a broad social policy beat for the "washington post" and just finished cowriting a series of stories about for foreigners the government looked into immigration detention facilities and what bad medical care they
were getting. looked up and thought, what's interesting now? and i became very interested in how this bad economic time was h changing people's lives. so i started to write a few stories for the "washington post" about this. i'm just going to read you a couple of paragraphs from one i wrote out of southwest florida, about people who were signing un for welfare for the first time. here in florida, as elsewhere, the new fails of welfare includes people who have tumbled from the middle class and higher after losing job, savings and self-reliance. in some are rereturning to real fair years after they thought they had found permanent work and independence.812 nearly 40're of the people who applied for welfare had never beside ask help.p.octobe got to do what guy to do to get by, tony, 33, and five months pregnant. said as she sat in front of a
computer terminal, typing an application for cash assistance. she and her husband, jason, opened tip top tile in cape coral, florida in 1996. and most years they earned $50,000. the business failed three years ago, as southwest florida's building boom collapsed. i wrote that story in december 2008, the same monthde your assembly plant closed but i didn't know it at the time. so if you remember back then, all these job losses were not happening just in janesville. they were so many kinds of jobs going away all over the country. so i got pretty focused on this, and over the next couple of years i kept an high our other journalists were writing about bad economic time and there were two many kind writing going on back then. there was stories that were about the economy and the government's response to the bad economic times, and whether the economic stimulus package that
then new president barack obama pushed through congress, was doing any good or not. these are economic and political story about the fight going noncongress over that administration's policies. and then there were more political stories in thehe mid-term elections for congress in 2010, when i saw a lot of writers focused on the anxiety of voters, about vetter anger and apathy, and i started to think, i didn't really see anyone putting those two things together. some i had this idea that you couldn't really understand why americans were angry or were anxious unless you understood their personal experiences or fear they're neighbor lost a job and maybe they would be next. and i found a study that pew foundation did in 2009 that looked at 10,000 new stories about the great recession, the
first half of 2009. it found that most stories were about the government bailout and banks and the auto industry and of those 2,010 -- of those 10,000 stories, how many were about average americans? five percent. well, this struck me as a really huge and important gap. it seemed we all knew the unemployment statistics but didn't under what it was like to have work go away. and i can only say that i became obsessed with this idea of trying to do something about this because i had this impression that something fundamental was changing in the country, about people's faith in their work, they had always expected to be around. and i became really obsessed with the idea of finding one community that had lost a lot of itself best work, to do a closeup of what really happened to people, to workers to families to the community when is a this work vanished i and i
had the idea if i could focus on one community could be a microcosm or metaphor that could happen people learn what experience was in one place to think about what was going on all around them. now, i became so obsessed about this i did something that i had never done in my long career which i alaska to take a leave from the job to try to write the longest work i had ever done. if you are going write about onv place as a microcosm, butter choose pretty well. so how you might wonder did i end up in janesville when there were all these other communities that were losing work, too. and i didn't know this community.losing i didn't have any family here itch had never been here. ihave any friends here. but i had heard about janesville, which i had neveren heard about before, in 2009, when i was looking for a setting for one of the stories i did about recession effects for the "washington post." and somebody mentioned to me that there was this community in
wisconsin that just had lost a big old general motors plant. i thought that was interesting but didn't come here because this just happened and as you all know a lot of people who worked for general motors itself were still getting subpay though economic pain for some people had not really begun to seep in. so i didn't come. but janesville linger inside my mind and a at i as i was get enclosing toes getting started,n i kept thinking about various place is could good, something inside me just kept telling me that janesville might be theso place. why was that? well, one reason was that i needed to find a place that had lost a lot of jobs and you definitely qualified.la i don't have to tell you, thousands of jobs left from around here. there are different figs you can see but looking the bureau of
labor statistic figures in 2008 and 2009, 9,000 jobs lefts the county. a lot of jobs and if you look at what happened to unemployment rate here at that time, in june of 2008, when the announcement was made that general motors was shutting down production here, unemployment rate was 5.4%. in march of 2009, a few months after the last of these jobs disappeared, unemployment shot up to over 13%. so on the job loss front, you were a winner. or a loser. beyond that, had the sense i wanted to tell the story of what this big recession had done. so it was important to me that it find a place that had not previously been part of the rust belt.th i didn't want to find myself writing about an accumulation of economic decay.'t i wanted to show what one bad economic time did. so flint, michigan, was an old story and i wanted to find a
place where economic trouble was new, and obviously the general motors assembly plant here had been shrinking a little bit and a little bit more and more overl a couple of decades, but it always got a new product. so this closing was really a very different thing that nobody in town ever experienced.if and that was very appealing to me, not that i was happy for you but very appealing as a place to do this writing do this talkings to people about what was happening in their community. i had this sense that no place is exactly like every place. but as much as possible i thought it would be interestingl to find a community to write about where the pattern of job losses marched the national pattern of jobs that went away in the great recession. so if you think about what happened nationally, the largest proportion of jobs that disappeared were the manufacturing sector, that was true of janesville.
a lot of the jobs lost were jobs that paid pretty well, but had not required a lot of higher education to get. that was true of janesville. more men than women lost jobs. that was true of janesville. so i thought that this was a community that had a number of the qualities in the lost jobs that other people around the country would understand and canoe with. i also had the sense that james might figure nicely into theja sweep of history. i remember the first time i found a youtube video for a speech that then-senator barack obama gave the assembly plant in february of 2008. i don't know if you remember him coming. and i remember the first time i listened to the video saying, the promise of janesville is the promise of america, and that line gave me goose bumps because i heard that youtube video a couple years after the assembly plant closed.
there was anine by then to what this presidential candidate, who became president, was saying. and of course janesville had been part of the sitdown strike of then 1930s and the assembly plant was part of the domesticrt war effort no world war ii when the plant started turning outpei artillery shells and parker pen had been from here, so i just liked that sweep of history.y. and of course before i knew anything about this community or had met anybody here, i had the sense i might find some interesting politics.he i just thought there might be something interesting about an old uaw town represented by scott walker and richmonded byby paul ryan in a state that was held by scott walker. so it as journalist i tried bring all of my reporting inning stinks to bear -- instincts to bear on what would be a good
sing and id to make an exploratory visit to janesville. i first came here in july of 2011. and i had arranged to meet some people, a couple people in the room here, who were part of that first visit who i met on the couple days i was here, and the very first person i met in town, i set up a meeting, was stan mium, who was obviously an oldtime gazette reporter who by then had left the newspaper and was on a different radio show than the one he is on now, and was working as an educational consultant.ow he had on office in what used to be the parker pen world, and now rennovated into offices.n renova and stan and i talked and stalked and talked for a couple hours. talking bet the history of thewe community, what it was like when he was here growing up as a boyk what the assembly plant meant, what was happening now, and we just talked for probably two or three hours nonstop.
finally he said so me, would you like to see the plant? and i said, of course i would. so i got in the car of this man i had never known before three hours earlier, and we drove down center avenue and turned left and there was the plant. and it was obviously huge. i had never seen it before, this big, still, 4.8 million square feet, closed auto plant. and as we were approaching, stan said something that surprised me. he said, i hate to go by this. i said why? i mean, it was a surprise to me. stan, if you know him, is a pretty tough character, veteran reporter, he calls himself a cynic. tend to agree. he was not member who stroke me as member who would be reticent to see something in town. he told me that his father had worked the plant, and as a boy he remembered how proud his father was that this general
motors wages had let him buy his first chevy. and when this man i had just met that day said that to me issue thought, there's something here in this community about the relationship between this closed plant and people's sense of work and people's sense of what lifek tooth be like and wasn't anymore. so i kept coming back. for a lot of years. now, have met and spoken with many, many people in town. many people, even into a book that has a lot of people in it. and that is really where my gratitude comes in because i learned from all of you who i c have met with over the last six years, and what i tried to do is get to know people in town, obviously i don't know all of you but tried to get to know people who have various vantage points in this community, people who were the assembly plant, people who were the suppliers,
people who were teachers, who tried to figure out how to help kids whose families were hurting. people who did economic development work. i really wanted to understand how this thing looked from lots of peoples' perspectives. and i was really slow to figuree out who were going to be the main people in my book. felt that i couldn't pick who -- it's funny to talk about characters when some of you are in the room, real people, and also book characters at this point. and i felt that i couldn't really pick who would be the main characters in the story i wanted to tell until i understood what were the choices that different people made and what were the range of choices so i could figure out who might be very good examples of each of the kind of choice us. and i arrived in 2011, which was obviously two and a half years after the assembly plant has shut down, and i knew from the beginning that i would need to go back in time so i could tell
the story from the moment that the announcement happened that this town was going to be changed. so i knew i would have to find people to talk to who could kind of go back a couple of years with me and complain what life had been like before i showed up on the scene. i also had the sense that i needed to understand the history of this community. so as renee said i spent lot of time reading into janesville room, spend time the historical society, because i wanted to understand what the industrial past of janesville had been, i wanted to understand where the pride and work that was done here came from. i wanted to understand what in the i'd and expectations of janesville were so i could understand what it felt likeso when things were changing. so i did a lot of historical work.s that struc one thing at that time struck men why talked to more and more peoplees when in the plant
closed there was a lot of disbelief and denial that it was real itch showed up two and a half years after the production stopped here. and i kept running into people who said, just wait, it's just a matter of time before it comes back. sound familiar to you? i thought, why was that? that was because this assembly plant started making tractors in 1919 and started making chevies on valentine's day of 1923 and every time a product went away from the plant, another product showed up. so there was no expectation, no experience, with it not happening again. so what i began to see was that people made choices about what to do next. or what choices did people make when the best working class jobs were gone. so people began to make choices but a lot of case is found it
took people a while to settle into what they were going to do. so when i finally chose people who were going to be the heart of the story, looked for people who had made different ones of thieves -- ones of these choices.ce could have been many of you but i had to pick some people. i want to tell you about the people i whose for the book. some are in the room which is really great. so, one of the families this vaughns. they are an old family in town, as you might know. they're one of a couple families in town with three generations of people in the didn't on the executive committee of uaw local 95. i was really interested in what the role of the union had been here and what happened with the union when all these jobs went away. so i got to know dave vaughn, i got to in the mike vaughn, hisda wife, barb, both mike and barb had worked at lear.
mike had been she shop chairman atelier. barb lost their job a little before dave did. set went back to blackhawk as a lot of people did. she did well mike tried find a join union job and he went into management and he had to decide it was an okay transition to make. he felt he could help people from the union side, could help people doing human resources work from the management side. that's very thoughtful kind of transition somebody made here in town. another family i write about is the willpat. he was the employee assistance rep. his son matt was the plat. matt worked at gm for 13 years..
his dad retired a few weeks before matt had the layoff. i talk about what is was like for maybe to have a big retirement party knowing he had two kids about to lose their work. and matt also went back to school.t back t he was doing very well. he thought he would try to go into utility work. he was studying electric power distribution.in and just before he was to finish up, he really began to think hard about whether a job would be waiting the other end and like a lot of people, i mean, the willpats like all the families i write about were very financially responsible people. but finances weren't so good, and as you all know, people who had work at general motors had an advantage that people who were the suppliershave, which is they had transfer rights. so matt became one of the so-called gm driftees. he took an offer at fort wayne,
he has been commuting there for seven years, got eight years go until he is eligible to require time and to this day he leaves monday morning and comes home friday night. works second shift so he can wake up in janesville three morning out of the week. and then i wrote about the whittakers. now, jarred whittaker got work, tammy whittaker in front row, got work. been working one job, then two jobs, and jarred didn't want to leave his family, and his family didn't want to leave janesville like a lot of people. a lot of attachments and relatives in the areament didn't want to move to another part of the country. so jarred and tammy finally decided that the best thing to do is take a buy-out. wasn't a good buy-out, $3,000 but came with six months of health insurance ask that was important when jarred was working a job that didn't come
with halve -- health insurance at the time. fell in love with thunder daughter -- with their daughters, who twins, i met them when they were high school seniors told me about what life had been like a few years before that. these girls are smart kids, hard-working kids, honor students, taking ap classes. and between them they were working five part-time jobs. there were other kids in town who did the same thing but the whittaker girls were the one isi got to know the best.. and they had a sense of responsibility that they could see their parents were struggling. part of the parents were working, weren't bringing enough money so the girls began slipping the parents money to pay utility bills and go grocery shopping. this whittaker girls are doing agreement went to plattsville. one graduate net three years and is becoming a social worker.
studying for her masters now and alyssa is going to be an engineer. i was strike what it did to family who were trying hard hasm they could to make a good of it. changes life.. those are the closeups i make i the stories. a few other workers wander on and off the stage but they're me main families about i want it this not just to be a storyil about the workers. want today be about what happens to a community and what other people in town do when they see that there's more need coming along than had been happening in this community before.rote abo ... derek eastman who is here. he's the founder of the -- closet. a lot of the schools have closets which are places where kids who need a little bit of help can quietly and privately
without a lot of attention get used jeans and prom dresses that people donate, to get food toiletries and school supplies. i thought that was a really interesting example over source fullness within the school. i also write about mary. her last name is changed and she got married. bl .... .... she cofounded rock county 5.0. i was interested in the local economic >> i was interested in what the development was like. it is still going. and they have been trying very hard to bring businesses to town. so, i tried to come get inside their perspective on what they thought they should be doing to help the community. bob warren who is here today is
somebody else i got to know well. he was running a job center which is ground zero for where people went when they lost their work. bob taught me about the options available, the funding, the retraining, hew people tried to help people find jobs. so, job's perspective was a valuable one and seeing who comes in when people don't have work anymore and what their options are. i also write about a woman named ann forbeck who was a social worker who lives in janesville and was the cofound are of 1649 which is an effort to try to house unaccompanied homeless kids. i was moved by ann telling me
how when she and a counterpart in the loyd system system got it going. just talking about the homeless teens in janesville people didn't believe it. this is not a place where people had homelessness. she is really exposed and done a lot of good work to try to help people understand what kinds of needs come kids have. i was very interested in what that effort was, what it takes for the state, community, and county to try to pull resources together at a bad economic time
to try to persuade them this was the place general motors should chose when they started manufacturing with the first compact car they made domestically for the first time. i think everybody thought janesville had a good chance of getting the car but it didn't work out. tim taught me about that effort and other things that have been changing in town. i was very interested in job retaining. those are some people in the story and they are people who some of you know, most of them don't know. but i wanted to have close ups
showing what the town did to bring back the community. i wanted to find a way to show the individual stories i'm telling were part of a broader truth in this part of wisconsin. i did a couple things with help from academics. i did two studies. one is the study of job training and looking at people getting unemployment in the area, 2008, 2009, 2010, what happened to people who had gone back to school and what happened to people who didn't. we got data from the state workforce development board, got data from the problem, talked to labor economists who could do
things i didn't know how to do and found really interesting and sobering patterns because if you look at how many people working what their way was, and then you looked at how things were in 2011 when we got the data, people who went back to school unbalanced were not doing as well. mike did great. mike's wife did great. nice too you both. people didn't just get good balance and pay just because they went back to school. there is ruminations of the story about why that is and what that says about what kind of jobs you need in a community to have retraining to be beneficial to broad numbers of people.
i became convinced that black hawk was doing a great job. it had a couple thousands factory workers coming back. huge numbers went to school. imagine you work in a factory for a long time. 30s and 40s. might not have been a great student to start with. don't have any money anymore. you don't know what is going to be next and you have to start studying. that is a scary thing for a lot of people to do. so black hawk, i came to think really tried ways to help the students starting computer boot camp. people didn't know how to use computers well. despite all that effort, not everybody who went back to school benefited from it at least night away.
we sent out questions to 200 people and half the people got them and failed them back and survey work was great. this was four and a half and five years after the work vanished. one of the questions that burned we amay was asking people if you think the recession is over. it was five years later. three quarters said they did not think the recession was over.
over half said it was worse, just 18% said their financial situation got better in those years. i was interested in how many households were effected by a loss job. 35% of people who answered the survey said they or someone in their home lost a job. if you think about how many families were touched by all this job loss it was huge. and then i asked a series of questions. i developed this with a couple sociologist just for people that lost a job or had somebody in the home lose a job and the question was have you noticed any of this happening to you?
75% of the people who had last a job said they were loosing sleep. strained family relations, 63% said yes. do you find yourself avoiding social situations and almost half said yes. and the question that i found most heartbreaking was do you find yourself embarrassed or ashamed about being work and almost half of them said yes. and many people i got to know in town and this said that even when you lose a job, when thousands of people are loosing jobs and when your neighbors are loosing jobs, your big employer in town goes away. loosing work is personal. the hard thing if i was just
good enough i wouldn't have lost my job. people on the outside can say this is a bad economic time. a corporate decision. loosing work was really a personal thing. so, i thought i was going to end by reading a little bit more of this. this is a chapter toward the end of the story called knight drive. it is about mike wul pack who is as i said still commuting to fort wayne, indiana. it about his ride home. get the hell out of here a guy shouts as he burst out the road and speed walks across the lobby, barely slowing to put in his id card. the end of a second shift. a nine hour shift with a lucky hour of overtime.
11:45 and one guy is shouting among 1100 pouring off the factory floor to start the weekend. amid this hoard, matt reaches the lobby at 11:57 wearing a knit cap and backpack over his shoulder. he is not running but walking fast. friday night ritual. he reaches a chilly night air is a coworking wishes him a safe drive. he stopped at the 97 saturn and parks in the same part of the lot every friday in the middle row under street lamps so we won't have to think about where he left this car when he returns on monday. he pulls this items from the trunk and continues to walk fast over to a nearby 2003 pontiac grand prix idling already. chris aldridge is in the front seat and in the back seat is paul sheridan.
chris pops the trunk so matt it put the duffel in. matt's door is barely closed when chris guns the engine and roars off. 280 miles to go, four hours and 35 minutes speeding just a little where they are sure they will not get caught. matt pulls out the phone, calls darcy to say they are leaving. it is 11:54 p.m. in fort wayne and matt is not the only one who stays on janesville time. the grand prix dash clock says 10: 10:54. chris will never forget the day he started. his wife and kids helping him move. he stays in fort wayne.
his family left monday morning when we went to the orientation during the morning shift. he was back that afternoon, alone, his wife and kids already back in janesville. one of the worst feelings of his life. that was three and a half years ago. the grand prix had 47,000 miles on it. now it has 137,000. they are planning to turn on to route 14 and matt said this is my three year anniversary. chris says we have to celebrate that. matt already texted darcy happy anniversary and the reply came back has it been three years? seems a lot longer. darcy added a sad face emote --
emoticon. this week it snowed ten inches in fort wayne but thawed and sunny. tonight it is clear so the stars are brie on the drive-thru the indiana flat lands. think we will get a double raccoon tonight, chris asks? last summer on the stretch of 114 one raccoon ran into the road from the left and another from the right and the grand prix stuck both, one with the front tire and one with the rear. you don't get that everything week. but they get the houses alongside the red who have a flair for decorating. lit up with shamrocks for st. patrick's day coming up. and now the bend north and then
west on to u.s. 30. four lanes divided which chris, paul and matt agree is better than indiana toll road. u.s. 30 gives them a chance to guess what is playing at the drive-in movie theater up the road. the tpassengers craning their neck to get a peek. no matter in the season, there is the larger than life event you can see as you drive by. matt's phone rings. it is his youngest. in indiana he says about three hours. now they are in valprasso.
some of the gypsies wait for the last stop but chris, paul and matt like this one for the good snacks and multiple bathrooms. they are back in the car with snacks. jerky and paul and matt and popcorn. then north on to the highway 49 and west on the toll road. you are going under the speed limit said paul. beep you said chris. you want the tire to wobble off. you happen you know how to change a tire. you are doing a good job. thanks, chris, you are very supportive. now tay are whizzing past gary with remains of the steel mills on the right. lights sparkling and a flicker of planes, gary was known as
magic city when u.s. steel arrived to build the mills on lake michigan southern shore. now the population of 78,000 is less than half of what was in 1960 and one forth less even in 2000. gary is a perfect specimen of what the rust belt looks like and what janesville is striving not to become. it is almost 1:30 janesville time when they glide through the tollbooth and enters iowa. it is easy to cruise along because with the extra hour, in most of the city, carl sandburg, is asleep. the downtown skyline comes into the view. just north of chicago, a red car passes with four guys inside. tom is driving, chris notes,
more janesville gypsies. matt joins us joining paul in the slumber. this wasn't like the silence. you are supposed to do color commentary. matt awakes for a text filled with other gypsies. mile marking 28 cop in the medi median. no lucky tickets. can't afford to. the one time matt got pulled over the summer before last he told the officer the truth. he works in fort wayne during the week and was driving home and was a little excited to get there and see his family. the cop said he could understand and let matt off. they past the chrysler plant, the one thaz that wasn't hiring.
when they get the rockland, the home stretch and paul is n his driveway in 20 years. paul continues his gentle score and at 2:41 janesville time chris gets philosophical. i count how many christmas i have to spend there. three more. he is coming up on 27 years since becoming a working on august 27, 1986 after a wiring wave when janesville survived a near death experience. in 2008, chris was down at the plant shooting video with a digital camera. his anniversary date means chris is 32 years and seven months until retirement.
matt has seven years. getting 177, i will have you home in a heartbeat. it is just after 3:00 janesville time when chris pulls into paul's driveway. after dropping him off, chris drives up center avenue, crossing the rock river near br the assembly plant is vacant and up milltan avenue to mike's nice house that he and darcy managed to keep because he is a gypsy. the straight shot to town but sometimes they go through the town different ways just because it is nice to be home. nice to see janesville street. at 3:20 a.m. chris pulls into the driveway. darcy hasn't remembered to turn on the outside light but left the light on in the laundry room.
just inside the garage door where she and the girls once cried as matt left for fort wayne the first type. matt hands chris a $20 for the gas and oil changes. what time will you be here monday morning he asked before pulling out the duffel? 8:10-8:15 the usual. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. we are going to do q&a now. again, she is not a politician.
this is a forum for opinions. we will do questions and answers and the questions should be relevant to amy's books because she can not answer other questions. let's be nice, again. >> i would be fascinated to know how you found the people coming here not knowing anyone? how did you find the families to interview? >> people introduced me to people. on the first trip, in addition to stan, i met with bob, i met with and running the uaw local
at the time and said who else should i get to know and i met a few more people and then a few more. i didn't ask pem people the most personal questions when i met them. i waited for that. >> in terms of time line when did you fipgs the research and writing of your book? >> i did ufrp for about three years before getting a book contract. i had to sketch out how the book is going to be organized. once again i was fortunate the
washington post gave me another book leaf. i did this thing i never did before but kept my job. i was on a two-year book leave when i started this. during some of the time where was based in madison. i was here for 2012 election and all kinds of those months. i went full time on writing a first draft and that took about 9-10 months and i spent a lot of to me revising.
when did i finish? i wrote the epilogue in december. >> if you don't think that the going back to school helped what did help? >> i will dodge that because i don't have a full answer for you. i don't think retraining is necessarily a badiate idea. i just think is hard to do in a place where there is not a lot of jobs. >> have you every interviewed anyone in detroit to find out
whether or not they are empathy for what they create when they close a plant? >> i will tell you the truth which is i try hard to interview rick wagoner who was the head of general motors and out of work himself within a matter of months after the assembly plant closed. i talked to some people in general motors and this is more locally but the gentlemen who for a long time was the personal director inside this assembly plant was working in madison for a while and i had long conversations with hem about what happened and why. i did talk to some people but i
didn't have as much leadership as i would like to have it. >> would you consider about one of the employees from and did you have research on what happened to the community after the plant closed? >> that is a good question. i know that people were working at the plant so that it wasn't just janesville that was affected when so much work vanished. i didn't look at the effects of
i looked at the images of you holding the flag and looked up you have because i want to know who is on the cover of the book. very glad to meet you. >> what is the bigger picture you see here? >> it is good to see you. haven't seen for a while. i was trying to help people understand what it feels like to have work go away.
i just want people to understand what it does to you when work goes away. >> thank you. did you interview any other people in the town that were not auto workers and their attitudes toward auto workers? >> i very much did. i think long standing views about whether it was fair they had better salaries and benef s benefits. other people say gmo were paid well but they were philanthropic
so people see those questions a lot of different ways. i thought it was important to get to know people who worked at parker pence. there are two legacy industries in this community. and both of them went away during the five years of the story i have written. so, i want to make sure i wasn't going to just focus on auto work workers >> a lady said the guys at the plant make too much money and they are not worth it. that was a common problem. >> did you do research into the supply houses about what
happened and why they went down? i worked in one of them and there were a lot of people that died and didn't know what to do. the company didn't know what to do. gm didn't know what to do. we had several people crippled for life because of their severance way lotsf us, me included, are out of thousands in severance way we never received. it is affordable housing for people that rent in town is terrible. we have had taken a hit on that. it is bad. so, i thought it was important to show it wasn't just general motors this happened to.
gm had been around so that when the assembly plant lost the shift, people in all the choirs lost to shift. it was very specific in writing about the bonds we have certainly talked about what being on the aseseassembly line to your body. i know there is a lot of work that disappeared and to be honest, i never thought about what the claims and the claims you are making.
that is something i think is important that didn't include. but it doesn't surprise me to hear that. you will there are very short chapters and each one from a person point of view. i talk about the other sumriers going down at the same time it is clear there is a universe of work. >> i will start back here.
>> i have two questions. in the audience, how many people work for a gm plant? can you raise your hand? okay. thank you. and the second question is are any tours available anymore for that plant? i have never been through that plant but was curious. >> as far as i know it is closed. private property gates locked. okay. if we could drop back in so that we can hear the question. thank you. >> i noticed we got to loyd.
i am wondering how rockford might have been affected by this as well because people probably came up here as well. >> this is close to the illinois line so i don't know how many people are coming up from rockford but it doesn't surprise me to find out they are. this is also a huge job loss just to state the obvious at a time when the whole economy because bad.
wa verse the uaa. my biggest question was were you able to find anything that was going to be done with the plant and how that will hender our communities' development effort? and over the years, i assume pre-epa there wasn't much down with keeping the soil or water clean. i know that not everybody went as close as fort wayne. in terms of the plant. let me say a couple things. when the plant closed, it was not for a long time. it was put on this limbo status
called stand by and was the only plant within general motors on stand by. spring hill reopened for a while. this one stays on standby. my sense is there is a real difference of opinion depending on where you are in the community as to if that was good or bad thing. some people who have been at the plant were or union identified. but if oon stand by the plant with come back. what my perception was is this is gone time can move on. i see this in a story that a schism amerged on people's sense in the community of what the best future here should be. and the last time the city of
janesville is negotiating with a couple of companies that aren't themselves interested in using that property but interested in buying that property to figure out how to clean it up and who else might want to use it. so it is very much an open question at least the last i knew if it was going to happen with the chunk of land. >> other questions? thank you. did you interview anybody who went to the drug and shawl abuse? -- alcohol abuse. >> the father of matt plant is vale involved in helping people and i got to know people involved in that. broadly, one of the things i was
interested in was when you lose work and people don't have the money they are used to having what kinds of social problems emerge in town? i have people that work with vimz of -- vimz of domesting violence. i talk to the county corner because suicides were going up. i tried to understand. my sense is that different people react to a personal trauma in different ways. different people have different amounts of personal resilience. different people find their way forward and some don't. i wanted to understand what is happening here to people having a hard time so i talked to some of those folks and summon of them are proper innocent in the story but when i say a talked to
many more people in town that are part of the story, some were people i thought to know. >> your story has great significance to this community and i am pleased the washington support was so supportive of the effort. i am curious as you go out and tell the story in the broader world and in the united states to people here it? it is easy when you live on the east coast or west coast or far reaches and don't see what
happens in the midwest. >> i love that question. it goes to why i spent so many years writing the story for so many years, there is a thing in my computer. this book came out a week ago tuesday. i have been doing a lot of radio interviews and i was on a show about the first hundred days of the trump administration. this was an hour long call in show a week ago thursday night. where was blown away because
during it, the host, who was terrific, september saying call in with your experience and what is going on in your community when work and natural resources going away. a gentlemen called in from florida talking about his town lost his sea food industry and he was worried it was becoming a tourism place and somebody called in from maine talking about how the shoe industry went away there and another person called about coal country and somebody called talking steel. i view names will and i thought
if i could tell the story 32 the generosity of one people maybe i could help think that was coming around them. anyone else? okayism i will have you pass it down. >> we know several people lost their marriages to that like the last question, i am often glad you shows people where janesville, wisconsin is. i used to travel a lot and i would say wisconsin and they will know where that was and when they finally figured it out they would say how close is your nearest neighbor.
(inaudible) >> america's youth are not repaired for adulthood in the vanishing american adult. sydney bloomenthal releases his seeked book wrestling with his angel. and mohammed ali's refusing to join the military and the impact it had on the nation in sting like a bee. and autumn of the black snake. and mike pender graph provides a history of atlanta and weighs in on the current development and city on the verge. ti"time" magazine's jeffrey attempt to reach the moon in apollo eight. and dan hampton recalls charles
lendberg transatlantic flight. >> i thought he would start with an opening question that would allow insight into the what the books are about. i would love to know just to start out is there a moment that brought you clarity around where your book was going? an interview or something like a moment >> i have been on wall street for seven years and the crash
was happening and leeman brothers and bear sternz was going down. our hedge fund was in a december oo -- decent position but everyone around me was terrified. the crash really made that worse. i remember being in a meeting with my billonaire boss who and several other traders were in the room. we were talking about the hedge funds being proposed by congress.
>> john croft or most of ray's family doesn't helping me either. they didn't even name her. they said the wife of the mcdonald's ceo filled for divorce sighting ungovernable temper. they had a long aware on and off and other spouses involved before they finally married. so i was curious to find out more about this. i found out the details of the
divorce that joan was alleging against ray and here -- reading and hearing it because it was painful i realized i had known joan started an alcoholism charity when he wasn't able to get way help. knowing that moment on the floor in my office. >> it to eight years to write my book beginning when i went to africa in 2005.
one of the things that happened was i got to see the beginning of the hiv-aids program she started which was to bring medicine to people suffering from aids in africa and elsewhere in the world. that was the western world saying we will get hensarling of millions of people die. clinton said no. he and melson mandela. it started out small. we went to an island off the coast of tanzania where a lot of people were suffering from aids. they were kind of hidden. it is a muslim county and a lot of stigma attached to it. i met families who were getting relief, medicine and other support from clinton's organization including some small children who were there
with their parents or their mothers. we went to the same organization that had brought these patients to clinton's group with hiv or aids who banded together to protect themselves. it had hundreds of members and they were good letting medication and other support. there was a young man there, a teenager who had a sign he held up with clinton came and there was a picture of a child on him.
he was a littlechild who had hiv and probably would have died along with his mother but he came up to clinton and i saw clinton begin to wheep and that is when i knew that was the core of the book. i knew this was what was essential to the story that i think people didn't know what about we did and what it was about. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> i am delighted to welcome all of you to sprinstan. i'm delighted to welcome all of you to princeton. we have not only students here and members of faculty but guests from the community and